Month: April 2017

Module 5: Teacher Professional Development – Forum Post

At numerous points in my study so far I have noted the importance of professional learning (PL) for teachers to successfully integrate technology. I think I have noted in another forum that part of what led me to my study was the evidence in the school I was in at the time that many teachers were unsure what to do with technology in their 1:1 classrooms beyond internet research and word processing. People often struggle to see beyond what they know and therefore, PL to provide exposure to new pedagogies using ICT is essential (Tondeur, Forkosh-Baruch, Prestridge, Albion, and Edirisinghe, 2016). The need for ongoing, meaningful PL is consistently acknowledged amongst the readings; I think what is sometimes lacking clarity for those planning PL is the form it should best take to support teachers as learners (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). 

I think many schools have moved on from the model of the ICT presenter who sweeps in, shows a new tool and leaves (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). Such a model of PL does not sustain ICT integration as it is transient and not necessarily timely or connected to the context (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). Internal, peer-led PL is becoming more prominent (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007), making use of the teachers as resources – they understand the local context, they are there to answer ongoing questions and coach their colleagues and provide the just in time learning and modeling that is needed for sustainable action. 

Drawing the readings together, the key points are: 

  • PL needs to be relevant to the teacher, but also the school context (Armfield, 2011) 
  • The pedagogical value and purpose of PL should be clear (Tondeur et.al,  2016) 
  • PL needs to be differentiated, tailored or personalised in some way 
  • Practical, hands on and collaborative PL processes will support improved integration 
  • PL needs to be ongoing 
  • Peer coaching and/or train the trainer models as well as Communities of Practice are likely to be most successful (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007; Tondeur et.al, 2016)  
  • Reflection of learning and success is essential (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007)  

One aspect of my role is to facilitate professional learning both in formal and informal settings. As an example, we started the year with a PL session on using OneNote. Much of this initial session involved demonstrating the specific skills required to set up and use the software, so it was initially skills based, but modeling the tool’s pedagogical capabilities had to be front and centre for people to be motivated to transition to a completely new platform (Armfield, 2011; Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). This one-off event may have got some staff going but it was necessary to offer a series of follow up processes (Armfield, 2001) to make a sustained integration more likely (Matzen & Edmunds, 2007). We made video tutorials, infographic instructions, held drop-in sessions after school and offered further 1:1 coaching where needed.  

Without these subsidiary offerings, much of the initial motivation may have fallen away and implementation for some teachers may have seemed too hard (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). In terms of measuring the success, we are planning to survey Heads of Departments this coming term to get their sense of the impact of this and other PL activities. A process that includes students in the review of TPL would be good (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007) and may be an option for the future. 

References 

Armfield, S. (2011). Technology leadership for school improvement. Planning, designing, implementing and evaluating technology, pp. 109-128, 2011. in Technology and Leadership for School Improvement. Papa, R. (Ed) California :Sage 

Lawless, K. & Pellegrino, J. (2007). Professional Development in Integrating Technology into Teaching and Learning: Knowns, Unknowns, and Ways to Pursue Better Questions and Answers. Review of Educational Research, Vol. 77, No. 4 (Dec., 2007), pp. 575-614

Matzen, N. J., & Edmunds, J. A. (2007). Technology as a Catalyst for Change: The Role of Professional Development. Journal Of Research On Technology In Education, 39(4), 417-430. 

Tondeur, J., Forkosh-Baruch, A., Prestridge, S., Albion, P., and Edirisinghe, S. (2016). Responding to Challenges in Teacher Professional Development for ICT Integration in Education. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 2016, Vol.19(3), pp.110-120 [Peer Reviewed Journal] 

Module 4: TPaCK framework and using technology in a meaningful way – Forum Post

I have been aware of the TPaCK model throughout my study and have considered the implementation of the holistic structure quite extensively in my current and previous work environments. The TPaCK framework is a useful model, drawing together essential components of a successful contemporary learning environment where one element cannot survive without the others. I like the idea that where when one component – tech, pedagogy or content knowledge – is reduced, then the others must step up to compensate (Mishra and Koehler 2006).

I have been thrown in the teaching deep end in recent years, moving out of my content knowledge comfort zone into the depths of teaching digital tech in a new school without a department, relevant colleagues or support network of any kind. I built an emergency PLN out of local and global (Twitter) connections in order to swiftly build my capacity in T and CK elements, as hanging on with pedagogy alone was pretty tough there for a while! Amongst the challenges of this experience, I learnt that I did not need to have every element of TPaCK nailed down in order for great learning to happen, and that designing inquiry learning experiences can have incredible benefits for students (and teachers like myself who needed the chance to practice outside the box). 

Having said that, I have been very pleased to have now learnt enough to create more of a balance, but the experience was definitely a valuable learning experience and one that has allowed me to experiment and explore with far less trepidation.

References

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054

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